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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Young entrepreneur’s business inspired by Indigenous women

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TORONTO —
A young entrepreneur who transformed a fundraising initiative into a business enterprise hopes she will honour Indigenous women across the country.

Mya Beaudry first designed scrunchies as a way to support her local powwow after it was cancelled during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People liked my scrunchies so much I decided to turn it into a business in March 2020,” said Mya.

Beaudry is the 10-year-old CEO of Kokom Scrunchies, a hair accessories company inspired by her grandmother. In her Algonquin language, “kokum” translates to grandmother.

A kokum scarf is a traditional headdress typically worn by Indigenous elders and Beaudry decided to get creative and repurpose them into scrunchies.

It takes her approximately 10 minutes to make each scrunchie and she releases her new product on Sundays on her Instagram account where she mostly sells them.

She also sells limited-edition products inspired by Indigenous women whom she considers her role models.

Despite her age, Beaudry has been able to accomplish what takes some businesses years. With the help of her family, she scored third in a national business competition with a prize of $2,500.

“I have a support team,” said Beaudry.

But Kokom Scrunchies has also felt the strain of COVID-19’s impact on overall production.

“The most challenging thing would have to be finding people to help sew, and getting material because everything is closed,” said Beaudry.

Beaudry’s future plans include one day opening up a store front business in her home community of Anishinabeg First Nation outside Gatineau, Que.

“My future is creating an office in Kitigan Zibi where I can make scrunchies and make jobs for other youth, and put my scrunchies in stores all over the world,” said Beaudry.

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